World Chess Championship


Unofficial WCC 1834–1886 

Before 1886 there is no official World Chess Championship, but the strongest players of that era were considered Champions. They were:

Ruy López de Segura – 1560

Gioachino Greco – 1623

François-André Danican Philidor (1755–1795)

Louis-Charles Mahé de La Bourdonnais (1821–1840)

Official WCC 1886–1946 

From 1886 onwards the Championship became official but there wasn't any organization to care about it. If one player thought that he was strong enough to win then he had to collect an amount of money to challenge the World Chess Champion.

1. 1886 // Steinitz-Zukertort

United States of America | New York City, Saint Louis, New Orleans

The first to 10 wins will be the champion

10 + 5 – 5 =

2. 1889 // Steinitz–Chigorin

Cuba | Havana

The first to 20 wins will be the champion // otherwise tiebreaks

10 + 6 – 1 =

3. 1891 // Steinitz – Gunsberg

United States of America | New York City

The first to 20 wins will be the champion // otherwise tiebreaks

6 + 4 – 9 =

4. 1892 // Steinitz–Chigorin

Cuba | Havana

The first to 20 wins will be the champion // otherwise tiebreaks

8+2 + 8 – 4+1 =

5. 1894 // Lasker-Steinitz

United States of America and Canada | New York City, Philadelphia, Montreal

The first to 10 wins will be the champion

10 + 5 – 4 =

6. 1897 // Lasker–Steinitz

Russian Empire | Moscow

The first to 10 wins will be the champion

10 + 2 – 5 =

7. 1907 // Lasker–Marshall

United States of America | New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Chicago, Memphis

The first to 8 wins will be the champion

8 + 0 – 7 =

8. 1908 // Lasker–Tarrasch

German Empire | Düsseldorf, Munich

The first to 8 wins will be the champion

8 + 3 – 5 =

9. 1909 // Lasker–Janowski

Austria-Hungary and German Empire | Vienna, Berlin

10. 1910 // Lasker – Schlechter

The first to 8 wins will be the champion // if the result was equal the World Champion will keep his title.

1 + 1 – 8 =

11. 1910 // Lasker – Janowski

German Empire Berlin

The first to 8 wins will be the champion

8 + 0 – 3 =

12. 1921 // Capablanca-Lasker

Cuba | Havana

The first to 8 wins will be the champion. Laster resigned after 14 games.

4 + 0 – 10 =

13. 1927 // Alekhine-Capablanca

Argentina | Buenos Aires

The first to 6 wins will be the champion

6 + 3 – 25 =

14. 1929 // Alekhine–Bogoljubow

Germany and Netherlands | Wiesbaden, Heidelberg, Berlin, The Hague

The first to 6 wins or the first with 15 points will be the champion

11 + 5 – 9 =

15. 1934 // Alekhine–Bogoljubow

Nazi Germany | Baden-Baden, Villingen-Schwenningen, Freiburg im Breisgau, Pforzheim, Stuttgart, Munich, Bayreuth, Bad Kissingen, Mannheim, Berlin

8 + 3 – 15 =

16. 1935 // Euwe- Alekhine

Netherlands | Amsterdam, Delft, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Gouda, The Hague, Groningen, Baarn, 's-Hertogenbosch, Eindhoven, Zeist, Ermelo, Zandvoort

9 + 8 – 13 =

17. 1937 // Alekhine- Euwe

Netherlands | The Hague, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Haarlem, Leiden, Groningen, Delft

10+ 4 – 11 = 

Championship Cycle 1946–1948  

After Alexander Alekhine's sudden death, we don't have a World Chess Champion for 2 years, because no one could challenge him in a match. Then the best players of that time created a tournament to select the next Champion.

The idea was born at the AVRO chess tournament held in the Netherlands in 1938; sponsored by the Dutch radio-television company AVRO. They played in a round-robin system with the 5 best players: Euwe, Smyslov, Keres, Botvinnik, and Reshevsky. 

FIDE 1948-1993 

 FIDE is the World Chess Federation that was created on the 20th of July 1924 in Paris. One of her duties is to create the World Chess Championship.

18. AVRO chess tournament

19. 1951 // Botvinnik – Bronstein

20. 1954 // Botvinnik – Smyslov

21. 1957 // Botvinnik – Smyslov

22. 1958 // Smyslov – Botvinnik

23. 1960 // Botvinnik – Tal

24. 1961 // Tal – Botvinnik

25. 1963 // Botvinnik – Petrosian

26. 1966 // Petrosian – Spassky

27. 1969 // Spassky – Petrosian

28. 1972 // Spassky – Fischer

29. 1978 // Karpov – Kortschnoj

30. 1981 // Karpov – Kortschnoj

31. 1984/5 // Karpov – Kasparov (discontinued)

After defeating Beliavsky, Korchnoi, and Smyslov in the candidate circle, Kasparov won the right to challenge Anatoly Karpov for the World Title. The match took place in Moscow and the first to win 6 times would be the Champion; not counting the draws. The tournament started on September 10, 1984, and ended on February 8, 1985.

Karpov started winning one game after another and quickly made it 5-0. This was due to Kasparov's inexperience as well as his very aggressive style. Karpov had a completely opposite style and was great in defense. Gary realized that if he continued like this he would lose the match 100% since his opponent was better than him. So he

move back, dig in the defense, making an extremely large number of draws. Gary waited for his opponent to open up a bit so he could counterattack. But Karpov preferred a stable game without risk.

In game 32 (!) he managed to get his first victory. Karpov began to get tired of over-fighting. Kasparov also learned a lot from his opponent and started taking advantage of him; winning the game 47, but also 48. The score was 5-3 in favor of Karpov but Kasparov was playing with confidence ... At this stage, the president of FIDE, Florencio Campomanes, made an unexpected and controversial decision, to cancel the championship! In the press conference, he referred to the health of the players, despite the fact that both Karpov and Kasparov stated that they would prefer to continue the match.

It should be noted here that Karpov had lost 10 kilos, but on the contrary, Kasparov was in excellent condition and extremely unhappy with Campomane's decision. Many believed that he was the favorite despite the negative score of 5-3 ...

32. 1985 // Karpov – Kasparov (32th-KK2)

Russia | Moscow

33. 1986 // Kasparov – Karpov (33th-KK3)

34. 1987 // Kasparov – Karpov (34th-KK4)

Spain | Seville

35. 1990 // Kasparov – Karpov (35th-KK5)

The Separation 1993-2006 

 1993 is a defining moment in the history of chess. Until that time Candidates Tournament existed; a tournament in which the world's top players took part. Whoever came out first got the right to claim the World Chess Champion.

A new idea was born to make chess more spectacular or to destabilize the World Champion. Thus, the World Chess Federation (FIDE) wanted to impose a different match system in which more than 100 players would participate in knockout matches. These matches had a shorter duration and the outcome of the game could be done with rapid or blitz games.

Many considered that this system was not the most objective in promoting the best player in the world. Also, this new concept degraded the title of World Champion. Hence, many top players left FIDE and together with Gary Kasparov founded another union, the Professional Chess Association. So from 1993 onwards we have the emergence of two World Champions, FIDE, and the "Classic World Champions".

In 1993 Nigel Short managed to beat Karpov in the Candidates Tournament and thus claim the World Crown from Gary Kasparov. But before the match, both Kasparov and Short complained to FIDE about their lack of professionalism, so they decided to set up their own Professional Chess Association, which would be responsible for hosting the Championship. So at the moment, they have two different World Championships.

The Professional Chess Association was a competitor to FIDE. In 1995 he made another round of candidates with the winner of the Anand. At the World Championship, however, Kasparov won. In 1996, it lost its main sponsor, Intel, as Kasparov chose to play a game against rival IBM supercomputer Deep Blue. Kasparov was unable to run again and was eventually defeated by Kramnik in 2000.


PCA * 1993 // Kasparov – Short


1993 // Karpov – Timman


PCA * 1995 // Kasparov – Anand


1996 // Karpov – Kamsky

# In 1997 FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov suggested a match between Kasparov – Karpov


1998 // Karpov – Anand

## In 1998 Kasparov had no funding from the PCA and thus was unable to host a decent candidate tournament circle. He finally announced that he would choose an opponent based on the ELO rating; photographing Anand and Kramnik.

However, Anand preferred to play in the FIDE World Championship. So Kasparov organized a battle between Alexei Shirov and Vladimir Kramnik. Sirov won the match, but never made it to the match because failed to raise enough money from sponsors. Kasparov's plans for a match with Anand in 1999-2000 also collapsed. Finally, the fight with Kramnik took place at the end of 2000.


1999 // Vladimir Akopian - Alexander Khalifman

This was a different championship, something like today's World Cup. There were small knockout matches. The difference was that the current FIDE World Champion (Karpov) did not have any special privileges. In protest, Karpov refused to play.


Classical World Championship Match * 2000 // Kasparov – Kramnik


2000 // Anand – Shirov


2002 // Ponomariov – Ivanchuk


2004 // Kasimdzhanov – Adams


Classical World Championship Match * 2004 // Kramnik – Leko

In 2002, the Dortmund Sparkassen tournament was also the candidate circle for WCC. However, not all of the top players took part in it. The number 1 in the ELO standings, Kasparov, rejected the invitation, counter-proposing a rematch between Kramnik and Kasparov. Anand also turned down the invitation because he believed that he would fall out with FIDE.


2005 // Topalov

After the very strong criticism of the previous Fide World Championship system, the knockout, FIDE made changes. He made a tournament with 8 players, double meetings, and classic thinking time control. The participants were:

Rustam Kasimdzhanov, Michael Adams, Peter Leko, Viswanathan Anand, Veselin Topalov, Alexander Morozevich, Peter Svidler and Judit Polgár. Note that Polgar is the first woman to participate in a World Chess Championship circle.

Kasparov refused to play as he had recently announced his retirement from professional chess. Kramnik refused but suggested playing a match with the winner of the tournament directly, as he was the "Classic World Champion".

FIDE 2006 - Today

 2006 Reunion

This long-running dispute was finally resolved in October 2006, after 13 years, with the Kramnik-Topalov match in Elista, Russia. This is the first World Chess Championship I have watched live. At first, it was a festive reunion and everything seemed to be going well.

The match would last 12 games. Kramnik won the first two games and two draws followed. On the day of the break, Silvio Danailov, Topalov's manager, issued a press release threatening to stop the match. The Bulgarians complained that looking at the videos they found that after each move Kramnik went to the restroom and went straight to the toilet. They noted that he had visited the toilet more than 50 times. Note here that there was no surveillance camera in the toilet. Unlike Kramnik, Topalov spent most of his time on the chessboard, as is normal for chess players. So the organizers justified the demands of the Bulgarian team and decided that the two players will have a common toilet.

Kramnik's team reacted strongly to Topalov's request, saying that it was not possible for them to interfere in the personal life of the Russian chess player. So Kramnik did not go to play in the fifth game and lost it without a fight.

Chaos prevailed, the fight was put on hold and everything seemed to be shaken in the air. FIDE President Kirshan Ilumdzinov traveled to Elista to resolve the incident. Eventually, after intense negotiations, they reached an agreement and the fights would continue. The members of the objection committee were replaced, the two players would have their own separate toilets and Kramnik would lose the fifth game without a match.

Topalov won the 8th game and the match was led to tie breaks, ie fast chess games. Kramnik finally managed to win and became the 14th World Chess Champion. After this episode, until today, these two players do not shake hands when they play. The Russians have banned Topalov from playing on Russian soil and the two players are avoiding participating in the same top tournaments. The top tournaments in the world are not countless and as a result, sometimes it is impossible to avoid each other. Their games until today are exciting and full of intensity since both players play for victory!

36. 2006 // Kramnik – Topalov

37. 2007 // Kramnik – Anand

Mexico // 12 September 2007 - 30 September 2007

This was an eight-player, double-round tournament featuring Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, Peter Svidler, Alexander Morozevich, Péter Lékó, Boris Gelfand, Levon Aronian, and Alexander Grischuk. Anand won by 9 points in 14 games and was the only undefeated player. Although Kramnik initially recognized Anand as the World Champion, he expressed his preference for a match between them.

38. 2008 // Kramnik – Anand

### 2009 Gelfand won the World Cup. In other words, a different competition starts making his first footsteps in addition to the World Chess Championship.

39. 2010 // Anand – Topalov

40. 2012 // Anand – Gelfand

41. 2013 // Anand – Carlsen

42. 2014 // Carlsen – Anand

It took place from 7 to 28 November 2014, under the auspices of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) in Sochi, Russia. Agon company started the commercial cooperation with FIDE. 

Carlsen vs Kariakin 

 The match took place in New York from November 11 to 30, 2006. This is a World Chess Championship of the new generation of top players. Both players were born in 1990. The match had 12 games and of course, gained the attention of the whole chess world. Although Carlsen was theoretically a better player, the match was a very close race. Kariakin managed to take a very important lead in the score and was very close to winning the title. But Carlsen turned the table in the next game.

Carlsen vs Cruana 

Maintaining the crown of World Champion since 2013, Magnus Carlsen was called to face his new opponent Fabiano Caruana. Undoubtedly the Italian-American player was number 2 in the world and very close to Carlsen. Although the classic time games ended in a draw, both players had chances to open the score.

You will learn several theoretical opening ideas and more specifically in the Sicilian defense; one of the most popular openings in chess. The games are very instructive in the middle game because both players created very nice and instructive plans. Similarly, plenty of strong attacking ideas took place, so you will learn many attacking and defensive techniques.

You can see detailed videos with analysis of all games by clicking below: 

Carlsen vs Nepomniachtchi

Winning the episodic candidate tournament, which was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian Ian Nepomniachci managed to compete for the first time in his career in the World Chess Championship.

The COVID-19 pandemic delayed for 3 years the World Chess Champions Match. In the last months of 2021, Norwegian World Champion Magnus Carlsen faced the Russian Challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi in a 14-game match that took place in the Dubai Exhibition Centre in the United Arab Emirates.

Nepomniachtchi vs Ding

The 2023 FIDE World Championship Match took place in Astana, Kazakhstan. The match is happening in the upscale luxury St. Regis Astana hotel, located in Astana Central Park, the heart of the country's capital. From 9th April to 1st May GM Ian Nepomniachtchi and GM Ding Liren played a match to decide the 17th world champion in chess.

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